Sunday December 10, 2017

REPORTS: Sudanese Forces held South African forces in Darfur hostage to secure the release of Bashir

CAPETOWN – South African forces serving as UN peacekeepers in Darfur were held hostages on Sunday night till Monday morning in order to secure the departure of President Omar El Bashir from South Africa, according to reports.
South Africa’s News24 revealed that about 1400 South African troops serving in Darfur were confined and circled for more than 24 hours when the issue of the arrest of President Bashir was discussed in courts in South Africa. The South African troops were only allowed free movement when Bashir touched down in Khartoum on Monday evening.
“We were so scared – we were surrounded by soldiers. We handed out extra ammunition to all our troops in case they needed it,” a South African soldier told News24 on Tuesday.

“Vehicles approached our bases and the commander placed us on State 2 of readiness,” added another soldier.

Another soldier said if the situation got out of hand, “we would have had to surrender to save our lives, because you can’t fight a country’s army with a poorly equipped battalion”.
According to reports, the surrounding of the South Africa troops by the Sudan forces started off immediately after Bashir left for South Africa on Saturday.
“I am so thankful that South Africa did not arrest Bashir. The battalion commander said after Bashir touched down safely in Khartoum, all the [Sudanese] troops were withdrawn. The calamity has returned to normal,” reads a message sent by a soldier in Darfur to his friends in South Africa.
South African soldiers are serving in Darfur as part of the African Union and UN mission to bring about stability in the war torn region.
“Our nerves were shot and we were very relieved when the militants withdrew on Monday evening. We knew we were sitting ducks,” said a South African soldier.
A right group in South Africa filled a petition in a Johannesburg court on Sunday to arrest President Bashir for crimes committed in Darfur. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over the death of more than 350,000 Darfurians in Western Sudan. Too many arrests where ordered by the court which he has every since averted.

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